July 28, 2014

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High school softball: Midview’s offense suffers rare off day as Central Crossing hands Middies first loss of year

Midview center fielder Morgan Hamker dives for the ball but can’t come up with it Friday against Central Crossing in Akron. Midview suffered its first loss of the year. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Midview center fielder Morgan Hamker dives for the ball but can’t come up with it Friday against Central Crossing in Akron. Midview suffered its first loss of the year. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

AKRON — Midview has been hitting the ball with authority all season. Friday the Middies had a hard time just hitting the ball out of the infield.

Central Crossing sophomore Ally Gruen held Midview’s prolific offense to four hits, all singles, as the Comets defeated the Middies 4-1 at the Akron Racers Spring Showcase at Firestone Stadium.

Midview (7-1) came back later in the night to beat Maysville 3-1.

But against Central Crossing, the Middies hit only two balls out of the infield and scored their only run in the third inning when junior Erin DiFranco reached base on an infield single, stole second and scored thanks to two wild pitches.

Senior third baseman Carlee Grunda was the only Midview player with two hits. Grunda just beat out an infield single in the second inning and led off the seventh with a line-drive single to center.

“(Gruen) wasn’t anything really spectacular but she was just able to hit that outside corner all day,” Grunda said. “My approach was to take one pitch at a time and just go with her pitches.”

DiFranco’s run gave Midview a 1-0 lead but Central Crossing tied the game an inning later on an RBI single off the bat of Abby Rhodes.

In the fifth inning, the Comets scored three runs as the first six batters reached base on four singles, a walk and an error. That was all the offense Central Crossing (4-6) needed.

Gruen, who struck out two and walked three, said playing at the site of the state championship helped get her ready for the game.

“Everything came together,” she said. “My drop curve and change-up were working, my defense was awesome behind me and when I got here and saw the stadium I was really pumped and ready to pitch.”

Even though Grunda’s team came out on the losing end, she also enjoyed playing at Firestone Stadium.

“This is the best facility we’ve played in all year and that was probably the best team we’ve played all year,” Grunda said.

Midview coach Mike Ives didn’t like losing, he believes playing good competition from outside the area will prepare his team for the rigors of West Shore Conference and the postseason.

“The only way we’re going to get better is by playing quality teams,” Ives said. “Going out and beating poor teams isn’t going to make us any better.”

He was also pleased with his team’s effort.

“It was a well-played game,” he said. “There were not a lot of mistakes. Lauren (Landers) pitched well. It all came down to we couldn’t get the big hit and in that one inning they were able to.”

Senior shortstop Amanda Beursken had the Middies’ other hit, a single to lead off the second inning.

“Ally did a good job of pitching today, keeping them off-balance and changing her speeds,” Central Crossing coach Rona Dorsey said. “We play in a tough league in Columbus so our record might be a little bit deceiving, but this was one of the best all-around games we’ve played this season.”

Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

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